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“I was amazed at this girl and equally worried about her,” she said. “I thought, `This poor girl is going to ruin this tremendous gift,’ and of course it turned out much worse than that. But I worried about her. I used to daydream about talking to her and trying to inspire her to take better care of herself. But I never got that opportunity.”

Smith’s only instrument is her voice and nobody compares it to Winehouse’s. She remembers “winging it” as a singer early in her career. But she’s taken care of that voice by not smoking and rarely drinking, and the song “April Fool” is a showcase for how that voice has improved as well as being the most straightforward pop song on the disc.

A rarity that can be found on the Internet is testament to Smith’s love of a good pop song. The punk poet sang a respectful version of Debby Boone’s soaring ballad “You Light Up My Life” while appearing on a children’s television show around the time that song and the Bruce Springsteen-penned “Because the Night” was popular.

“I’ve always had an interesting life,” Smith said. “I look upon it with great amazement. I’ve met some wonderful people, both known and unknown. I’ve had great relationships. I have great kids. I do the work that I want. I’ve been able to do the work that I want with no compromise or regrets. So I feel pretty lucky.”